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  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the insides of the papers.

  2. In a large saucepan, combine the water, dates, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries, nuts, baking soda, salt, and eggs; mix thoroughly. Stir in the starter and the flour until evenly combined.

  4. Scoop the batter by the quarter-cupful into the prepared pan. Bake the muffins for 17 to 19 minutes, until a paring knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

  5. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

  6. Store any leftover muffins, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter — it’ll be ready for baking soon after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.

  • If you prefer, bake the batter in a 9" x 5" loaf pan in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until a paring knife inserted in the center comes out clean.